Hmmm....keep my mixer on the island?

sandy808February 28, 2014

I'm driving myself nuts over this. I have a spot in the corner of a "regular" counter where I've been keeping my pretty red Ankarsrum mixer. I have a window there with a nice view. However, I have a wonderful gigantic "bake" island. I always end up moving this mixer over to my island so I can really spread my supplies are in there. I chose not to have an appliance lift in the island because I couldn't picture myself using a mixer while standing in front of a cabinet with the door open.

The problem I struggle with is that we have an open floor plan, and though many women store their pretty mixers on their counters, I have yet to hear of one who has their mixer as their "island centerpiece". I also hate clutter, but I cook and have no problem with a few select things left out that I use often.

Lately I've been lugging this poor mixer back and forth between the counter and my bake island. Fortunately they are close to one another because it is heavy!

Has anyone here just given up and left the darn thing on their island? Part of me feels I should just keep the pretty fruit basket or a vase of flowers on the island counter, so that when I'm done cooking or baking it's a pretty surface. On the other hand it's a workspace. The mixer is used often but there are days I don't need to use it, although that may change if I purchase more attachments for it.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not specific to a mixer, but in general I'd have to use something several times a week to leave it on the counter. I'd have to use it several times a day to leave it on an island. Sounds like you use it enough to justify the former, so my vote is continue doing what you're doing unless it's a physical challenge for you.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can barely lift my cast iron skillets anymore. Mine would be on the island.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One way or the other, you will never be happy.

It is impossibly for you to decide, because It is important for you to have the mixer on the center island, and it is also important for you not to have it on the center island.

Therefore you need a creative solution.

Hire a carpenter and incorporate a device like the one linked below in your center island for the mixer.


Here is a link that might be useful: Have your cake and eat it too

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mine's on the island. Then again, what some consider clutter I consider useful geographic arrangement of my tools. ((Grin.))

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 7:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband's vote was for leaving the mixer on the island. Of coarse, being who he is, things like that don't bother him:) He feels a tool should be accessible, and a mixer is a tool.

It seems it always ends up there and then I'm too "lazy" to move it back. I couldn't tell if it really bugged me or not because pretty soon I'd find my husband's drills, etc. left on there as well, so the overall clutter factor has been high. I think I may have THAT aspect under control as I've moved the trash can closer while making known there would be a new storage system for such things. I suppose I'd never really have the heart to follow through, though it sure gets frustrating. I have to put my foot down though because my island has been attracting the "wrong things", and I find it difficult to cook with stuff in my way. It makes me edgy. Sigh...... The war between practicality and the picture perfect home.

dacrtch, I did seriously consider one of those mixer lifts. I just didn't think it would work for me, plus they take up a whole cupboard. I keep all my grains, sugars, etc. for baking in the very cupboard I had thought about putting one of those into.

Kitchendetective, you've given me encouragement that it looks just fine to keep the mixer on the island. It's a tough decision because islands resemble a table, while runs of counters are accepted places for small appliances. I was thinking if the mixer sits on a pretty placemat maybe it would be fine. It would help me slide it into position as well. Maybe I'm too worried about what others think? It's not like for a party or a holiday it couldn't be moved and a centerpiece put there, right?!

angelaid, fortunately I can still lift my cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens, but my huge pots are becoming more of a challenge as I age. I hope I will always be able to use cast iron because it's my favorite cookware, but I can see the day in the not too distant future where my Le Creuset Goose Pot and huge Dutch Ovens will be more than I can handle. It's amazing what 10 years can do!

foodonastump (love that user name), you do have a point. I use the mixer enough to warrant leaving it out...somewhere. I also have a pretty red Kitchenaid mixer that has been on the counter, but it is the bowl lift kind, and I don't care for the head being in the way. The Ankarsrum does better with whole wheat dough, and the banana bread I made it in came out as good as the KitchenAid. I will try cookies next to see how well it does with that. For bread it is excellent!

I'm still learning how to use this unusual mixer, but so far I really like it. I'll keep the KitchenAid because I like the ice cream bowl and the meat grinder, but it can go on a cart in my walk in pantry though, and is easy enough to wheel out to the kitchen for use.

Gosh, it's been frustrating when doing internet searches about this dilemma. I was hoping for pictures, or more encouragement overall about leaving things accessible in a kitchen, and how to artfully arrange them. All I come up with are show kitchens where the inhabitants don't actually cook. I want pictures and feedback for attractive kitchens where there's actually cooking going on.

Thanks for all your responses!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why don't you make a pretty cover for it and leave it where you need it to be?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 2:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your kitchen, do what you want. I won't gossip "How horrid, Sandy leaves her mixer out in plain view". Agreed, kitchens are a place to work, and should reflect that effort, not a sterile showplace.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"kitchens are a place to work, and should reflect that effort, not a sterile showplace."

My sentiments exactly!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do a lot of prepping on my island, and I have a designated, marble-topped section for baking prep. There sits the Ankarsrum--or lies, when reoriented for grinding meat. However, my tolerance for devices left on counters is high. I enjoy using my gadgets and they are of less utility to me if I have to drag them out from a hiding place in order to use them. This is a matter of differing sensibilities, though, and, perhaps, different amounts of willingness to move things in and out of cupboards several times a week (or, even, day!). Several people whom I know would not approve wholeheartedly of appliances left out on counters; they also have much more household help than I (I have none), and rely on their help for a substantial amount of food prep, or do little cooking of their own. That is not to say that no one with pristine, clear counters cooks from scratch. It's just that time, energy, and strength have limits, so one has to prioritize. I enjoy spending more time experimenting with food prep than spending time transporting equipment. Sliding things around to clean surfaces under them is pretty easy for me, compared to carrying things to a pantry shelf, or bending to place them in a drawer.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 5:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If I continually moved it to the island, then I'd leave it on the island. My kitchen is my workspace, and it has to be convenient and workable for me.

As you said, if people were over you could move the mixer then and replace it with a lovely and completely useless decorative item.

I like kitchendetective's description "useful geographic arrangement of tools", LOL.

I can tell you that we just did an overhaul of my kitchen. Before it had bright orange counters and a big ugly built in table. Now we've painted the counters, removed the table, put in new flooring, a backsplash. It looks ever so pretty, which is important because the house is for sale. However, I hate it. It's unusable for me. I don't want to chip the counters or mess up the floor. The built in table was the perfect height to use as a workspace, the other counters are too tall and the only table now is an antique which belonged to Elery's mother, no working on that. (sigh) I hate my kitchen now and avoid the involved cooking and baking projects I used to do because it's not usable for me.

So, keep the mixer on the counter and keep your kitchen convenient and usable and rearrange only when you need it to be "pretty".


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Question 1 : Who are you going to impress?
Question 2 : How important is it to have what you need where you need it?

Option: the lugging of the piece here to there can be repeated several times before actual use so that you have accomplished the same workout for upper body strength that you would have had with dumb - bells.

P.S. I would be impressed by your having that pretty red useful tool where you need it, and then to eat what you had made from it, than I would have been with an ignored and ho-hummed decorative flower arrangement in your kitchen.


    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm all for practicality, and I have to say that I would never want an open floor plan kitchen! As it is now, my kitchen has two open doorways, side by side - one going to the living room (so I can see the TV from the peninsula where I do most of the prep work, and one to the hallway to the dining room, which is extra and was added when the house was expanded in the 1990s. I wish both doorways had doors so that I could close the kitchen off when I wanted to. My kitchen in Venice had pocket doors, which were perfect, and an artist had painted them in faux marble back in the early 1990s.

I agree with Islay about making a pretty cover for it. I did that for my bread machine. In fact I have more than one cover for it, and one of them is zebra skin, which I got from work as a remnant from one of our upholstery jobs. My kitchen window treatments are African cloth - one is Kuba cloth and the other is mudcloth - which is okay because the mudcloth is on the door and the Kuba cloth is over the sink, and the peninsula separates them, making them appear like two different rooms.

For open space, we have the back yard, and so I like for the inside space to have walls and doors. The previous owners (who did the expansion) created an open space between the dining room/art studio and the living room, which at first I thought was unnecessary, but now I like it. I do prefer for the kitchen to be a separate room with doors that can be closed, however.

I will try to post a link to photos of my kitchen below. Please share photos of your kitchen, especially the island, if you have some!


Here is a link that might be useful: My small, cramped kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I beg to disagree with everyone.

A kitchen to many people is more than a work place. Depending on life style, there are more socializing and entertaining in the kitchen than in the living room.

If you read what the OP says:

“I'm driving myself nuts over this” ---- “I also hate clutter” ----- “Part of me feels I should just keep the pretty fruit basket or a vase of flowers on the island counter, so that when I'm done cooking or baking it's a pretty surface.”

Also, “ pretty soon I'd find my husband's drills, etc. left on there as well, so the overall clutter factor has been high.” True, other appliances will soon show up after the mixer location becomes permanent.

It is very obvious to me that the mixer on the center island will forever be a “grain of sand in the eye” for Sandy, the OP, and forever be an annoyance each time she enters the kitchen. That’s why I suggest the contraption which will make the mixer disappear after use.

Sandy, seriously think of reorganizing your storage system and see if you can incorporate a way to “Have your cake and eat it too” each time you use the mixer to bake a cake.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 8:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree, dcarch. The question isn't really about what WE like, but what Sandy likes. My MIL puts the toaster and coffee maker away every day. And she pulls them out every day. Seems ridiculous to me, but she wants no clutter on the counters.

Fortunately, there's zero cost in this experiment. Leave it on the island for a couple weeks and see if it grows on you, or if it encourages your husband to make it a landing spot for other stuff. That'll be your answer!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My husband passes 2 desks on the way to the kitchen, yet always drops the mail on the island. I refer to this as the Immutable Law of Island Surface Magnetism. It matters not whether my counters are bare or covered in small appliances or somewhere in between. I remove the mail to his large desk, taking what is relevant to me to my desk. He does not, however, place tools on the island, although he has usurped my folding counter in the laundry room. I dislike non-food related items in the kitchen, but have not observed a correlation between what I keep out on counters and what others place there. Would love to see results of your experiment!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 12:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just had my mixer out. Mine is not pretty or I would leave it out on the perimeter counter. I use the mixer on the perimeter counter but then move the dough or whatever I'm mixing to the island to roll out, etc. I still spread out on the island but leave the mixer off of it. Would this work for you?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone for all the words of encouragement! This is such a friendly forum. I think I may leave the mixer on the island and make a pretty cover for it (though part of me hates to cover up the red). I have kitties who I know sneak where they shouldn't go when I am not around, so I should have a cover on my mixers anyway. If it bugs me I can always put it back in the corner of my nearby counter and lug it over if I want.

I use my Vitamix almost daily, but it's light enough I may put that in one of my base drawers because I like to keep my grain mill on that counter. When I leave everything out on the counter my space feels crowded and becomes irritating when using it for prep work. It seems I like chopping veggies on that counter, but like to do baking and mixer tasks on my island. I might also try using it on the perimeter counter and moving the bowl when finished to the island.

Open floor plans can have their drawbacks and is not for everyone, but for me it works. I like being able to converse with people (especially my family) while working in the kitchen. I felt closed off before in other houses. Our kitchen table is next to the island, though appropriately spaced.

It's so hard to figure some of these things out isn't it? I think part of the issue is that so many people are caught up in having kitchens strictly for show these days. Though I want my kitchen to be homey and attractive, which I feel it is, it's not sitting there to impress anyone else but me! It works hard....I grind my own grain, make my own bread, and meals are made from fresh ingredients. I even bought an oat roller. I can't believe how delicious oatmeal is now!

I think I allowed myself to get caught up in all the internet and magazine pictures of how a kitchen is "supposed" to look, rather than treating it as a kitchen! I feel it's sad when a kitchen gets posted on the kitchen forum of a gorgeous kitchen that the poster says has never had a meal made in it because they do not cook, hate to cook, and watches the maid fix something while they are on the couch. Their kitchen is for show and only to impress someone. Wow...with trails to hike, rivers to canoe, books to read, horses to ride, and gardens to enjoy, I sure wouldn't want the extent of my life to be lived only to "impress" someone while watching a maid.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, super-mom. I was wondering if your heavy use is due to a large family or small home business ... Impressive to do so much from scratch and so much healthier.

I have no appliances on the counters. My kitchen often looks like it does not involve cooking at all. Especially in the mornings. Starting any cooking project or experiment i need it empty and clean, dishwasher empty and sink clear. I'm constantly tweaking how it might work better.
Our kitchen does have 4 seasons. Evolves throughout the year....baking more in the colder months, marble slab is out now replaced by a second cutting board in the spring. Sometimes all 4 seasons in one weekend. Like the recent 3 day holiday weekend during a snow storm. The mixer was out all weekend, and the juicer, and all three blender containers and a full counter of spices and seeds and flours. Just took a zippy 20 minutes to put it all away and douche the place. By monday afternoon it became a pasta making factory for dinner later, then a meat market, grinding for sausage.
Even if i baked everyday, i would have to move it from the main baking area to give it a cleaning and start fresh as ingredients change with each project.
Husband is a slob, but does agree about the kitchen. He makes coffee in the mornings and tends the dogs. Uses that time to meditate and 'zen' the kitchen.
But that is our solution for peace and harmony. : )
His stuff and tools are everywhere all the time. Rarely puts anything away. Our solution? I have a half dozen heavy llbean canvas bags. One is by his office door, door shut, lol. I just put his 'stuff' in it. If he can't find anything, that is a good place to check first. It is always full.
He empties it occasionally. Another bag by the stairs to downstairs where all the stuff and my stuff goes.
I always thought the lift was a good idea but i could never actually use it on the platform. I need my mixer with ingredients right next to it, not behind it. Even in the photo flour is on the platform, so it is also all over the floor. Much easier to wipe the counter than the floor.

I don't read panic or insanity in your written voice. Just looking for a way to make it work. I would leave it out for a few weeks on the island. You might just find it is a bugger-bear. Gotta move it to clean. Might as well move to the backsplash home. Think of it as a 'cleansing' for organizing thoughts and the next project. Make and bake three days worth of meals in a day and freeze. (i'm sure you do that)...but give the kitchen a break for a day or two a week, and keeping the island clear will keep the family in check. One rule, island clear.

One thing i did was take a couple heirloom trays from my Grandmother and put hardware store lazy susans on the bottom. They are in my pantry but are easy to haul out to the work counter. One has smalls like vanilla, nutmeg nuts, etc. The other has my most used seeds and nuts and some baking supplies. I can leave those trays out all weekend but easy to carry and put away.

I have one rule. Breakfast table clear always. Here it is after the weekend... : )

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have the same cookbook that's on your table but haven't tried anything in it yet. Let me know if you've enjoyed any of the recipes.

Growing up my mom and dad grew all our vegetables and we were able to get peaches, pears, apples, and cherries from local farms to freeze and can. I will forever be grateful for the gift of learning to be self sufficient from them, and for my love of gardening and the outdoors.

I started making all of our bread about 4 years ago when I noticed that not even a cockroach or a hungry bird would touch bread tossed outside that had gone stale. Ditto for white rice. It just hung around until 6 months later the sun and the pounding rain finally dispersed it. That's when I decided if insects won't eat that bread or some of these other things that maybe we shouldn't be either. Grinding grain is as easy and fast as grinding coffee beans, and the flour is so sweet and fresh tasting.

Now I'm noticing most of the vegetables and fruit from the grocery store doesn't rot! it's time to start growing veggies again. Real food rots. I threw some fresh cranberries that had gotten past their prime out by some trees and they are still there, months later. We have abundant birds and they won't touch them.

I do get really busy sometimes and then we will go out to eat somewhere, but my husband and I do not feel well at all afterwards. There are just too many hidden chemicals in mainstream food, even the better restaurants.

We now buy all our beef and chicken from local farms that raise their cattle on grass, and their chickens pastured. I have access to good milk. We can get excellent cream, butter, and cheese. I've made ricotta cheese before. It's fun! And there are cultures available to make your own sour cream and buttermilk.

I do try to make enough of certain meals so I can freeze some of it for later. That way I'm not a slave all the time:) It's just as easy to make a triple batch of chili as a single one.

One book that made me do some serious thinking is "Nourishing Traditions" written by Sally Fallon. I recommend it highly.

I'm not really a super mom....just plain old mom like every other mom. But with the efforts I make with our food I'm hoping to offset some of the damage being done to us by the environment we all now live in.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 11:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I leave all my appliances out that I use on a regular basis or I'd go crazy heaving them around. Like a lot of you, I'm doing 2 meals a day from scratch and don't want to waste time. I tend to buy appliances I like the look of!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 2:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been doing some rearranging and I found as long as all the other little bits of clutter are dealt with right away, it actually looks kind of nice with my mixer, grain mill and Vitamix in their special spots. I considered putting the blender in a nearby base drawer and then thought how insane that would be considering I make a smoothie in it every day.

We also use a coffee grinder every morning so it needs to stay out on the counter as well. I need to find a prettier one. If anyone knows of a really good burr grinder (would love a red one), preferably with a glass holder instead of plastic, please let me know! The plastic produces static electricity so the ground coffee makes a big mess every morning.

Life is too short to be shoving some of this stuff in and out of cupboards. Thank you everyone for reminding me of that:)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2014 at 11:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sandy, you'd rather not use the Ankarsrum grain mill? I know it's plastic, but I've found it works well if I put a deep bowl/container underneath it to catch the ground coffee. It touches the bottom of the attachment and I don't have a mess from the grounds spraying everywhere, like I did with a low bowl!

This post was edited by alex9179 on Thu, Mar 6, 14 at 10:17

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:18AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Cookout for 150 people
I am having a cookout for my son's graduation, and...
Teffanie Hughett West
Canning tomato juice worth it?
Hi All - I'm thinking about canning tomato juice this...
Apologies to St. Patrick
Not even the corned beef was done the traditional way....
Inspire Me PLEASE!
I am currently on a very restrictive “life style...
Tried And True "Edible" Brownie Recipe? (Where Legal)
Here is a cooking question, more specifically a baking...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™